How We Build Our Second IoT Product

Here’s how we build our second IoT product targeted at Smart Cities.

In my previous article, our team set out to build our first IoT product called Raqib (formerly named Favorwatch). We also make another IoT product that is not so “IoT” in the proper definition because it involves humans to trigger the process. 

It is a mobile application that uses the GPS and camera, the phone’s sensors, and sends the data to a platform. We build this because, in our previous company, we have the in-depth experience of building a similar solution. Still, now we take this opportunity to develop a new version.

The Problem Statement

As city dwellers, we will always see problems in our city infrastructure and services daily – either potholes, garbage unattended, faulty lights or traffic lights, vandalism, pipe bursts, fallen trees, and many others.

Usually, we will either make the usual complaint via phone or email the local councils. Sometimes, the reports are left unattended, or you might not be aware of the status of the information. Either you call again, or you might get too angry and rant on social media.

The moment it goes viral unnecessarily on radio, tv, or social media, the harm to the local council’s image is not reversible. Sometimes, a minor issue can become a piece of massive news on national media.

Thus, how do we avoid this problem from happening? How do we get a proper channel for the citizens to make complaints easily and have simple means to monitor the status of their complaints. 

How do we assist the local authorities to be more efficient in responding to the citizen’s complaints and be more transparent in their work? 

How do we portray the local council and the local politicians to be more responsible in managing their cities or areas? Can we use the app to build better intelligent cities?

How Big is the Market

In Malaysia, 21 City Councils, 42 Municipal Councils, and 91 District Councils manage their areas. Malaysia’s population is around 32.37 Million, and the big cities in Malaysia have more than 500,000 people each.

A couple of big cities in Malaysia have started to utilize mobile apps to allow citizens to make complaints directly to them, but many cities still don’t have that facility. 

Many of them still depend on phone calls, emails, or websites to receive complaints from their citizens.

Globally, there a more than 10,000 cities worldwide. Thus, the market is still vast and untapped.

Official favorsense Video

The IoT Solution

The idea is to use the citizens to become part of the “sensors” to report issues of the cities. How do we capture and locate the report quickly? How do you make the invisible visible? If we are to deploy sensors everywhere, it can be very costly; thus, the idea of using the concept of “crowdsensing” intrigues us.

We choose to build a smartphone app because of the following reasons:

  • Almost all users have smartphones. It will become the device to help them capture the data.
  • A smartphone has a camera (the eye) and a GPS (location). It has built-in connectivity to send data to the cloud or platform.
  • Cheap to deploy and install.
  • When a user sees a problem, he will open the app and capture the photo. The app will automatically geotag the photo and time-stamp to indicate the location and time of the actual report. We want to avoid a user uploading from his phone photo album because it will cause the issue of fake complaints (taking photos from a different place and reporting at another location)
  • It’s also easier to send the status of reports back to the person who makes that complaint.
Favorsense
Favorsense – Crowdsensing Cities Problems

However, the smartphone phone app is just one of the main components of the total solution. There are three more components:

(i) Crowdsensing Management Platform (CMP)

  • The authorities appointed an Admin that will be responsible for handling all the complaints.
  • A trouble-ticket ID can be generated from every complaint received, and the Admin is responsible for escalating it to the relevant field force or contractor.
  • Once the contractor has resolved the issue, the Admin will be responsible for either accepting or rejecting the work.
  • The status of the report will be tracked and shown on a Timeline.

(ii) Field-Force

  • The contractor or the internal field force of the local authorities will receive all the jobs assigned to them.
  • The report will show the location and photo, and it can easily trace it back for resolution.
  • Once the job is completed, another image can upload as proof.

(iii) Insights

  • A simple dashboard shows the KPI of the Division that handles the cases, such as the status of the reports, closed, pending, rejected cases, among others.
  • Such reports are made in real-time and accessible anywhere. The management needs to have instant access to these insights.

Go-to-Market Strategy

This IoT solution is called Favorsense – a crowdsensing platform that allows a user to make reports regarding any issues of the cities. It will automatically collect the actual “pain points” of the cities. Favorsense will be an excellent tool for city authorities to identify these problems and turn them into innovative city applications. Thus, the app can become an official way for the local councils to engage with the citizens.

But how do we reach out to our target market i.e., local councils? We started with a direct engagement with the local councils themselves, making presentations and proposals. Talking at Smart Cities conferences also helped us in reaching out to them. Events like conferences are the best place to meet and have first introductions.

However, we didn’t anticipate the long sales cycle and tedious procurement process by this council. Nowadays, we take a different approach whereby we work via MSCA (Malaysia Smart City Alliance). We have an earlier opportunity to share our proposal for any Smart Cities initiatives.

Similar to our first IoT product, the second IoT product also have its own set of challenges especially going to the market. This will be shared in a different blog post as our IoT Adventure continues!

Articles worth reading next!

  1. How We Build Our First IoT Product
  2. How We Build Our Second IoT Product
  3. How We Build Our Third IoT Product
  4. How We Build Our Fourth IoT Product
Favorsense for Enforcement
old building at intersection in manhattan new york usa

“Build Smart Cities Through the Eyes of the Citizens.”

–Mazlan Abbas

How Silicon Valley Changed My View on the World of Startups

The visit to Silicon Valley companies changed my view about the world of Startups. Many started with a humble beginning. Technology was born here. Anything seems possible!

At the end of the 2016 visit, I had the opportunity to visit Silicon Valley with the MDEC delegation in the Silicon Valley Immersion Program. This trip transformed the way I look at entrepreneurship – “Anything is possible” and “Have a grand vision, and you can turn it into a reality” attitude.

I have never thought in my whole life to become an entrepreneur. All I think was to become a CTO in any big corporate organisation – that’s all. However, that business trip changed my whole life! On my return home, I decided to build a Startup in IoT – and that’s how FAVORIOT was born in early 2017.

The Inspiring Logos

For a first-time visitor, I was excited watching the Logos of famous companies on buildings, offices, parks, and shops – it’s the everyday hardware and software that we used back home. Hewlett Packard, GE, Cisco, Apple, Google, Facebook are among the logos that inspired me. My heart was beating fast to be at the place where the technology or product that I used daily was born!

The History

For any computer enthusiasts, the Computer History Museum at Mountain View is an excellent place to visit. You can see how computer history began here, starting with the vacuum valve to integrated circuits and the first PC and Apple computer. What you see in photos can now be seen physically, and that already amazes me. Imagine the power of our computers and smartphones begin with a small step from the brilliant minds of the inventors and innovators of Silicon Valley. For a first-time visitor, I was excited watching the Logos of famous companies on buildings, offices, parks, and shops – it’s the everyday hardware and software that we used back home. Hewlett Packard, GE, Cisco, Apple, Google, Facebook are among the logos that inspired me. My heart was beating fast to be at the place where the technology or product that I used daily was born!

Birth Place of Unicorns

Many Unicorns started with a humble beginning, and some started at Plug and Play Tech Center. For example, Dropbox started from within a small cubicle in Plug and Play, and it has now valued at USD 10 Billion. Other examples are PayPal, LendingClub, Guardant, Hippo, and many others. Seeing that logos on their walls made you believe, “If they can do it, why can’t we?

Plug and Play

Pitching Valley

We had the opportunity to pitch in front of investors at Hero City, Draper University. It was a very nerve-wracking experience – even though we had practiced the pitch many times before arriving in Silicon Valley. It seems to pitch is like an everyday thing here, and you can either pitch on an official platform or pitch to an individual investor after the event. Personally, the term “pitch” is synonymous with a short talk to convince investors about your Startup.

Sharing Culture

Almost all the people we talked to here are amicable and keen to listen to our ideas and give constructive feedback. They are more than willing to recommend us to other parties if they see their peers or friends benefit from our solutions.

Startup Ecosystem

The place is always bursting with new ideas, and no one seems to get worried if their ideas get stolen or not. Maybe it’s because many of these ideas are not unique to them, and they would instead share with others so that they can help to improve the ideas further. There are so many Startup Founders and Investors, and you might be lucky if you happen to have lunch or dinner in a restaurant and meet them.

The highlight of the visit is the walk-around on Google and Facebook Campus. It’s like a small Google or Facebook city!

Google Campus
Facebook Campus

Anything is Possible!

The energy, enthusiasms, and excitement made you believe that your ideas could soar higher and conquer the world. Age doesn’t matter anymore – anyone can start their entrepreneurship journey with a small cubicle or co-working space. Ideas can spark quickly and maybe can fuse with other ideas to make it better. The conducive Startup ecosystem of supporting each other made you believe that you are not alone in this world, and everyone here seems to be open enough to help you.

I will share the rest of the entrepreneurship journey in another article – why I choose the Internet of Things (IoT) as our business focus and why we build the first IoT solution that we think can conquer the world!

Silicon Valley USA 2016 Trip

Why IoT Adventure Book?

When I have this idea to write another E-book on Internet of Things, I was trying to figure what’s the best way to share my IoT journey.

Earlier, I have published two E-books – Your IoT Journey (815 downloads) and IoT Notes (1445 downloads). Both of these E-books I have made it available for free. Initially when it was first launched, it was offered at a price below USD 2.99.

In the latest E-book, IoT Adventure, it will go deeper into the business of IoT. Mainly it will be from my personal experience venturing into IoT entrepreneurship.

IoT Adventure – Your IoT Adventure Begins Here

IoT Adventure Contents

It will highlight several things (list is not exhaustive):

  • Why is IoT as the main business?.
  • In which area should we focus in IoT since it covers a very vast area.
  • Who and where do we find the customers?
  • Do we really have IoT killer apps?
  • How do we build the first IoT product?
  • What are the things we need to avoid failure?
  • How do we market our IoT product?
  • How do we price our solutions?
  • What are the business models?
  • What kind of support is required?
  • How do we grow our IoT business?

You can check more of the IoT Adventure contents here.

Personally, it has been a very exhilarating adventure when I decided to embark on this journey. We have failed and learned a lot and it’s about time to share some of my experience so that we can help new IoT entrepreneurs to be more successful in their mission to solve their customer’s problems.

But I also would like to open to comments from the readers to share their thoughts and experiences about their IoT business too and how it can help the whole IoT ecosystem to spur and grow exponentially.

Sign-up – Please inform me of your new IoT Adventure eBook!

The path in building an IoT business is not straightforward – especially when it involved many IoT Ecosystem players, new market and mindset transformation.

Dr. Mazlan Abbas

18 Tips – How to Use Twitter to Drive Traffic to Your Blog

Your Blog can be considered a “dead” blog if there’s no traffic and no one is reading or aware of them. A lot of bloggers stopped half-way and abandoned their blog when they didn’t see any traffic or activity.

However, in the era of social media, we have many channels to promote our blogs, which includes Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. However, in order to drive tons of traffic, we need to do this the right way. Below are some of the tips and formulas.

  1. Use short and provocative tweets
  2. Include an intriguing quote from post
  3. Include statistics
  4. Make use of #Hashtags creatively
  5. Use @mentions
  6. Retweet mentioned blog content
  7. Ask for a Retweet (or RT)
  8. Use visually appealing images
  9. As a question related to your topic
  10. Tweet about your blog-hosted contest
  11. Promote your tweets
  12. Include a blog link in your bio
  13. Schedule your tweet properly
  14. Include a strong call to action
  15. Tweet the link more than once
  16. Create “Click to Tweets” within your article
  17. Retweet or thank anyone who mentions your Blog
  18. Pin your latest blog post to the top of Twitter Timeline

Not only your Blog will have more traffic, but your own Twitter account can also attract more followers. Your Twitter will be seen to be more engaging with relevant content sharing.

As of today, my Twitter handle @mazlan_abbas has only 4,162 Followers. Let’s see how the tips above impact Mazlan Abbas Blog and my Twitter.

The 18 Twitter Tips that will help to boost your Blog traffic.

Year 2022 – The Death of Blogging

Yes – there’s a truth in this. That’s what they said a couple of years ago. However, there are many type of blogging such as personal journal, lifestyle, travel, health, technology and many others.

The trend for personal blogging have decline. People might no longer have interest to follow an individual daily activities, their families, trips etc. This type of content can easily followed via their social media channels such as Facebook or Instagram.

Entertainment vs Educational Blogs

However, blogs which covered specific topics that solve the reader’s problems would be the ones that have longer lifetime. The topics are more educational as compared to entertainment.

The contents for educational type of blogs can remained evergreen as people still searched the Internet for solutions.

So yes, people still read blogs. Multiple times a day, even! It just looks a little different because the content of blog posts has shifted from being writer-focused to being reader-focused. Blogs that focused on value to readers will have a higher reading rate.

This is something which I need to decide when I created Mazlan Abbas Blog – should it be personal blogging or a blog which is more educational such as the one I created at IoT World Blog.

Today, is my third day of blogging, and I will always monitor the traffic to see how the contents impact the traffic to the blog.

3-Days Stats
Demographics of Visitors

Why should you read and follow this Blog? If you want to read IoT contents, you may visit IoT World Blog, but here you will get constant updates about my journey in developing projects such as my Startup, FAVORIOT, Podcasts,, YouTube, Online marketplace and E-Books.

Sharing Platform

Along the way, I will share the ups and downs or probably some tips that we should avoid in building such projects. I hoped this will also become a platform to listen yo your ideas and thoughts too. Please leave you comments on the posts.

Are you ready to follow me on this journey?

Welcome to Mazlan Abbas Blog

This is the first post to indicate the opening and launching of Mazlan Abbas website dated November 17, 2021.

Dr. Mazlan Abbas

I was listening to Pat Flynn podcast and was inspired by his work work on Smart Passive Income. It all started two weeks ago and I have just finished his 22nd Podcast. He had over 500 podcast which he published almost every week.

Although, I have my own Blog called IoT World which I have created many years back, I have always wondered whether I should create my personal website using my name. I checked and noticed the domain mazlanabbas.com was not taken and that’s when I decided today to buy the domain and use WordPress as the hosting site for the Blog.

There’s always pros and cons of having our own name as the domain such as we will not be able to sell this domain name later as compared to niche sites. Furthermore, I have many other things which I would like to share but unable to do that on my IoT World Blog.

I have created many other personal or hobby sites such as:

However, all of them did not have it’s own domain name since it’s a free. And I found it’s difficult to manage multiple sites. Thus, I decided to (as of today) to manage only two sites which I have interest and passion. One for Internet of Things (i.e. IoT World) and the other is this Mazlan Abbas blog.

I will keep on posting the progress of this site as I customised it’s theme and content. As usual, currently this site does not appear in the first page of Google yet when we do a search on “Mazlan Abbas” (which it should). And also no one has yet subscribe to this Blog yet – something which I would like to measure the number of followers too.